Greater Oklahoma City is in the geographic center of North America equidistant from the east and west coasts and major trade partners of Canada and Mexico. The ten county region is at the crossroads of the U.S., sitting at the heart of three major national highways on the NAFTA corridor.
There's a reason Greater Oklahoma City is such a great place for business: Location. The ten county region is positioned within a day's drive of the rapidly-growing south-central region (OK, TX, AR, LA) projected to grow more than 44% during the next 25 years.
Noting low costs of living and good jobs, Forbes named Oklahoma City America's Most Affordable City.
At the height of the Great Recession, Forbes.com said Oklahoma City was the most recession-proof city in the country. Two and a half years later, the magazine has given the city another top ranking.
Noting low costs of living and good jobs, Forbes named Oklahoma City as America's Most Affordable City.
The magazine also noted Oklahoma City's friendly residents and an unemployment rate well below the national average, 6.3 percent compared to 9.5 percent.
"We searched for cities that had a balance of cheap living and economic prosperity - places with solid job markets, but where costs aren't prohibitive," magazine editors said. "In these cities, costs have stayed down, but residents have held onto steady incomes and decent jobs, making them a true bargain."
Forbes looked at all metropolitan statistical areas with populations of at least 100,000. They were ranked on the cost of a basket of goods and services, including groceries, health care and transportation, as of the second quarter of 2010.
The magazine also measured the monthly cost of housing as a percentage of household income.
The average sale price of an Oklahoma City-area home in September was $158,755, up 6.7 percent from September 2009, and the median price was $135,000, up 4.8 percent, according to the Oklahoma City Metro Association of Realtors.
The next four spots on the Forbes list went to Pittsburgh; Buffalo, N.Y.; Rochester, N.Y.; and Nashville, Tenn. The top 10 also includes three Texas cities: San Antonio, Houston and Austin, along with Louisville, Ky., and Birmingham, Ala.
"State capitals and university towns have vibrancy because of their job base, the stability of jobs and cultural diversification," said James Gaines, a research economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University.
The ranking was the latest in a string of kudos for Oklahoma City. In October, Oklahoma City was named a Top 25 Performing City by the Milken Institute, No. 7 Best City for Income Growth by Portfolio.com, a Top 5 Fastest Growing City by Forbes and a Top 10 State for Doing Business by Area Development Magazine.
"In times like these, value is key to everything we do as a chamber," said Roy Williams, president and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber. "From attracting new business, retaining and fostering growth with our current companies to attracting conventions and visitors, the number one factor on everyone's mind is value. Affordability isn't always about being the cheapest, it is also about the quality you get for your dollar."
The Boeing Co. recently announced plans to move 550 high-paying engineering jobs here. The company cited low costs of living and doing business and economic development incentives in the decision to move the jobs from Long Beach, Calif.
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett gave his 2009 State of the City address on Jan. 15. Below are excerpts from the speech:
Let's think back to the 1980s: Things in the local banking industry weren't so good. In Oklahoma, over 100 banks closed their doors. There was no massive federal bailout for us. In this current economic crisis, banks have failed around the world. But the number of failed banks in Oklahoma City as a result of this crisis is zero. The number of failed banks in the state of Oklahoma as a result of this crisis is zero.
Now, with the rest of the world dealing with such severe economic issues, it is only fair for us to acknowledge that our envious position should be valued and protected. And at City Hall we are asking those in charge of our city government's finances to maintain the same conservative principles that got us here. But these repercussions are being felt at city halls around the nation.
This month, there are dozens of mayors standing in front of assemblies much like this one, explaining to their constituents why they must cut back on services or raise taxes. Fortunately, I am not giving that speech today. So, the question before us is this: In a Golden Age for our city, while our economy is more than holding its own, while most of the rest of the country, in both the public and private sectors, is dealing with massive debt and in many cases bankruptcy, what do we do?
As I said, other cities will cut back or raise taxes. They are, in many cases, going to close parks and stop investing in their infrastructure. Their progressive ideas about public transit and green initiatives will drop down the priority list. But we are not in that situation. We don't need to be closing parks.
We don't need to slow down the investment in our infrastructure. And instead of shelving ideas about public transit, I say, now is the time to ramp up the conversation.
And let's make sure the world knows, that as the nation's energy supply slowly transitions from fossil fuels to more sustainable forms of energy, that Oklahoma City intends to remain a leader in the energy industry.
In short, there is every reason for us to take note of the economic calamity that is infecting much of the world, but there is no reason for us to stop what we're doing and change course. We didn't get in this lofty position by accident. We got here because we planned and we invested. And along the way, each of us in this community has worked really hard. Our momentum is taking on speed, and we are not going to stop now. The state of this city might be stronger than any other city in the United States.
2008 was a really important year for us. It will always be remembered as the year we truly believed that we were major league, and through that process we discovered who we were. The world is taking note about all of the great things we have taking place here.